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Crafty Thursday

relaxingDid you relax and have fun this summer? Hopefully you did, and got nice and refreshed for a new year at school! For most of you, this is your last free week – make the most of it!

-sleepOne way to get ready for school is to start going to bed and getting up earlier. Plan what you’re going to wear the first day, and organize space for school books and materials, and a place to do any homework.

stack of booksMake a list of all the books you’ve read over the summer – and I hope you played the Summer Reading Game and won all the prizes. Did you have a chance to use any of the tickets or coupons? They don’t expire right away, so maybe you still have time.

contest-painted-sneakersSomething else to do – ask your parents for permission first! Go through all your clothes, shoes, toys and books and separate out the things that don’t fit, are too worn out, or you don’t play with or read any more. If they’re in good enough shape to pass along, donate them. Find things that still fit but might need mending – and mend them! If you have some favorites that still fit but have stains, bling them up!

Terrific T-Shirt Fun: 25 Tremendous T-Shirt Designs and Creations to Try by Petra Boase

sew fabNature’s Art Box: From T-Shirts to Twig Baskets: 65 Cool Projects for Crafty Kids to Make with Natural Materials You Can Find Anywhere by Laura C. Martin

Hacking Fashion: T-Shirts by Kristin Fontichiaro

Crafts for Styling Your Wardrobe by Susannah Blake

Jumbo Book of Needlecrafts by Judy Ann Sadler

Learning to Sew by Kathleen Petelinsek

Sew Fab: Sewing and Style for Young Fashionistas by Leslie Ware


Back to School


It’s almost time to head back to school (some of you may be back already).  Time to start thinking about a healthy breakfast and lunch so you can do your best in class.  Here are a few recipes that will give you plenty of energy throughout your day.

sunrise breakfast


Sunrise Breakfast


Whole grain bread- 12 slices with crust taken off Eggs- 1 dozen Bacon- 1 package precooked bacon Butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Grease a muffin tin with butter and place one slice of bread into each hole pressing down in the middle. Press bread slices into each hole of a greased muffin tin Crack one egg directly onto each slice of bread. Precooked Bacon Heat bacon in the microwave according to directions (about 1 minute) and place one cooked slice into each egg Place one slice of precooked bacon into each egg Bake until egg is just cooked, or until desired consistency- yolk runny, about 10 minutes; slightly runny, about 13 minutes and cooked thoroughly, about 17 minutes


Easy Breakfast Parfait

A burst of fresh fruit, crunchy granola, and healthy yogurt makes this a quick and delicious way to begin your day!


  • fresh blackberries (or other fruits/berries)
  • bananas, peeled and sliced
  • granola (or other favorite crunchy cereal)
  • yogurt – you choose the flavor


  • grated coconut
  • nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
  • honey or agave nectar
  • pinch of ground cinnamon


Layer the ingredients in a small bowl or jar (clear is nice since it looks so gorgeous).  Eat or refrigerate for later.  This works well in a thermos for lunch as well.  adapted from: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/easy-breakfast-parfait/



Peanut Butter, Jelly & Apple Rolls

Super fast and easy, this recipe could be substituted with any kind of butter (Almond, etc.) or hummus and apples as well.  Kids can make their own lunch with this recipe!



Whole wheat tortillas

Good quality peanut or other butter

Jam or jelly

Thinly slice apples

Spread peanut butter on one side of tortilla, add a layer of jam or jelly.  Arrange apple slices down center of tortilla.  Roll like a burrito and put in a toothpick if necessary to hold together.


Deconstructed Sandwich

This is much more fun to eat than a normal sandwich.  Include some of your child’s favorites.

Lunch meat

Cheese cubes

Crackers or Pita bread


Cut up veggies, such as snap peas and baby carrots

More healthy lunch ideas:



Splat the catBack to School Splat by Laura Bergen

When Splat comes home from the first day of school, his homework is to pick one fun summer adventure to share with his class, but how can he pick just one?

Daddy’s back-to-school shopping adventure by Alan Lawrence SitomerDaddy's

When Mommy and Daddy take Jake and Jenny back-to-school shopping, they are determined to stick to their list but when Mommy steps away, requests for items not on the list abound, including one from Daddy.

Easy Lunches

Cool lunches to make & take: easy recipes for kids to cook by Lisa Wagner

Describes how to cook lunches with these easy-to-cook instructions, tools, and ingredients needed.  Kid Friendly!

Friday Funnies …

gut busters jacket

What kind of cake should you never eat for dessert?

A cake of soap!

What is a down-to-earth sandwich made of?

Ground beef.

What happens when a steamship gets angry?

It blows its stack.

How’s your job at the peanut plant?

The work is driving me nuts.

How’s your job at the fan factory?

It’s a breeze.

What do you try to keep after giving to to someone else?

A promise.

You can find these and many more in:

J818.602 Gut Busters!  Over 600 Jokes that Pack a Punch … Line!

Your Face: Use it or Lose it!

No words describe the importance of a Performer’s Face better than Nora Desmond’s line in Sunset Boulevard. Comparing silent films to “talkie pictures,” she says, “We didn’t need dialogue, we had FACES!”


Kids love clowning around, screwing up their lips and crossing their eyes to make silly faces. Some adults love it, too! Just take a look at the faces of two clowns who performed this week at Albany Library. (It may help to have a red rubber nose or a twisted mustache!)

The funny thing about funny faces is how they make YOU smile. Clowns can make you do crazy things like stand up and shout!

Audience participationYou don’t have to go to Clown University to perfect your silly faces. Practice in front of a mirror or find an identical twin. Sometimes parents draw funny faces on their kids when they are sleeping. Then the children get an April Fools Joke when they look in the mirror next morning.image image imageNo one is too important to crack a smile or make a funny face.   image

imageAnd we all know–when we’re laughing inside–we can’t hide our funniest face! 

Happy young monk

A Cool Place on a Hot Summer Day: Golden Gate Park


When the mercury hits 90 degrees or higher head on over to Golden Gate Park in San Francsisco.  Just be sure to check the temperature there, so you can take a sweater or jacket if needed.  There is so much to do there.  And it’s the perfect place to cool off.

The park was established in the 1870s when San Franciscans felt the need for an urban park similar to Central Park in San Francisco.  The park was originally outside the boundaries of San Francisco, but the city has since grown to incorporate it in its borders.  It covers a total of 1,017 acres.

There are numerous attractions and events in the park. The music concourse (pictured above) is home to the Golden Gate Park Band.  There are frequent concerts held there which are all free to the public. (see https://www.sfcv.org/events-calendar/venue-profiles/golden-gate-park-music-concourse-bandstand for a schedule).  These music events are free and open to the public.

Nearby, the park houses the California Academy of Sciences (https://www.calacademy.org/) which contains a planetarium, natural history museum and aquarium.  It’s well worth a visit, and if you join you can visit for free all year long.

Also, nearby is the de Young Museum (http://deyoung.famsf.org/)which features a magnificent permanent exhibition as well as special exhibitions which visit the de Young for a limited time.

And don’t forget the Japanese Tea House ( http://www.japaneseteagardensf.com/) with it’s magnificent gardens and bridge which is a beautiful and peaceful spot.  It’s the oldest Japanese garden in the United States, and you can enjoy a lovely break of tea and Japanese refreshments there.

Another spot not to miss is the Conservatory of Flowers (http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/).The beautiful white glass building was opened to the public beginning in 1879, and it has been a hit ever since.

There is also the Koret Childrens  Quarter Play Area which has a beautiful children’s carousel that was built in 1914. In addition there are two other play areas.  While you are at the park check out the fields with buffalo near Spreckels Lake and if you want to ride a paddle boat head on over to Stowe Lake.

If nothing else, just go to the park and enjoy its beauty.  Walk around and come home refreshed from the heat of the East Bay.

Brain teasers!

Did you know that with your Alameda County Library card, you can do brain teasers and play online games from home or at the library?

Check this out:


Click on the links for Kids’ Clubhouse or Puzzability for some fun brain teasers and puzzles!


Happy Friday!

Crafty Thursday

terrariumSummer is great – but it’s almost time to go back to school. Hopefully you had lots of outdoor time, enjoying nature and fresh air. Bring some of that nature inside with you! Put together a plant terrarium, for yourself and even to give as gifts. It’s easy, and doesn’t have to cost much. Find books at the Library:

nitty-gritty The Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book: Fun Projects for All Seasons by Kari Cornell

“Presents step-by-step, illustrated instructions for a variety of seasonal gardening projects for children, including how to create a hanging garden, strawberry basket, and compost bin.”                     [J635.083 CORNELL]

mothers day Mother’s Day Crafts by Arlene and Herbert Erlbach

“Provides information about the origins of Mother’s Day, ideas for celebrating this holiday, and instructions for making cupcake magnets, a picture frame from a CD case, a garden in a jar, and a tulip sun catcher.”                           [J745.59416 ERLBACH]

garden fun Garden Fun: Indoors and Out, in Pots and Small Spots by Vicki Condon

“Provides step-by-step instructions for twenty-eight indoor or outdoor gardening adventures, including a salad garden window box, a spiral flower garden, and a butterfly paradise in a patio pot.”             [J635 CONGDON]

You can also find lots of great information on the web:






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